Building an exceptional workforce is much like playing the game, Jenga. It takes skill and strategic planning to put all the building blocks into place with the help of others. If done correctly, the blocks are stacked into a proud tower. However, if you remove one of the supporting blocks or a wrong block is put into place, the tower can crumble all about you with no hope for recovery. To avoid watching your business collapse around you, steer clear of these common employer mistakes and instead build an exceptional workforce with staying power.
Small businesses often don’t have the time and resources to thoroughly vet a candidate and instead rely on the person’s word. Unfortunately, in this competitive job market, people often inflate and over-exaggerate their skill set and fudge on dates to hide employment gaps. It is crucial to check references and conduct background checks to be sure what you see is what you get.
If you don’t get new hires off on the right foot during the on-boarding process, it could lead to serious issues with communication and expectations. It may also lead to confusion on reporting and job parameters if a clear organization flow isn’t defined in the beginning. New employees arrive on the first day with knowledge and skills derived from their prior experiences and education. However, this may not parallel your company’s needs. Extensive new hire training should be designed to set the employee up to be more successful, as they will have a secure understanding of expectations, the specific job requirements and their role within the overall organization.
Be sure to have mechanisms in place to rectify voids or identify needs before they become a big issue. Once you have an exceptional workforce in place, the last thing you want to do is stretch your team too thin so they are no longer able to be successful. It can be difficult to gauge whether or not there is a void that needs to be filled on the team, but it’s important to pay close attention. If work is lagging or lacking, these are obvious indicators. First, look within the current organization for a team member(s) that could step in. To ensure a consistent flow of production, a workforce must be cross-trained so that if anyone leaves or is out on leave, there is no lag time or loss of work. If the manpower can’t be spared internally, it may be time to outsource or recruit. By throwing your team a lifejacket, you may actually be saving your entire ship from sinking.
Always use an employee handbook that outlines company policies for tardiness, absenteeism, safety, workplace romances, sexual harassment, dress code and any other policies that affect your workforce on a day-to-day basis. Make sure all employees acknowledge receipt of the handbook and address a different policy at each staff meeting.
Maybe a competitor pays more in wages but you can counteract that by appreciating and acknowledge your employees. All companies address an employee’s mistakes, so always make sure to praise them for a job well done. Create an employee recognition program and have your staff participate in the choosing of star team members.
Once a team is in place, it’s very difficult to correct hiring mistakes that can cause personality clashes, missed deadlines, customer conflicts and expensive mistakes. Cultivate the right team from the start by conducting an analysis of each company position to determine the necessary skills, experience, licensing, etc. that is required for the candidate to be successful. Use this information to create a detailed job description to better ensure a good job match when hiring and always conduct personality assessments to measure if someone is a good fit for the team.
Many business owners find themselves wearing many hats in terms of HR and office admin work, which isn’t necessarily their strength. Department of Labor and state specific employer requirements can become rather confusing, and if you’re not on top of them it could lead to fines or even legal proceedings. Save the extra time and hassle by asking for help from an HR specialist who can make sure you’re in alignment with labor laws, as well as assist with recruiting, screening, training, on-boarding, etc. in order to ensure you’ve got your team dialed in.
Lack of communication leads to a frustrated team. Be clear on what each team member is expected to achieve, who they report to and what to do if they encounter a problem. Always communicate with your team in writing as well as at staff meetings.
Always promote from within whenever possible. Your team wants to know they have room for advancement and if you prove a track record of promoting valued team members your whole staff will work hard for consideration for a promotions.
Every team member is key to your success and brings their own unique qualities to the table. Make sure you treat them with respect and value their ideas and input. Creating a “team” versus a “staff” will serve your business in so many positive ways as well as gear everyone for success.
Now that you have your dream team in place, maintain the momentum by having clear lines of communication, asking for input on areas to improve, offering training, and recognizing those players who are there helping make your business dreams come true.
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